Dem Likens GOP Reform Rhetoric to Nazi Propaganda


rep-steve-cohenRep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) took the debate over health care reform to a new level late Tuesday night, suggesting to a deserted House floor that Republican rhetoric around health care is akin to the Nazi propaganda that fed anti-semitism during World War II.

“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels,” Cohen said, referring to a Nazi propagandist. “You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing.”

Cohen said repetition of falsehoods is part of the GOP strategy to advance its agenda, the same tactics used by the Third Reich.

“The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it–believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover,” Cohen said, referencing a finding from the non-partisan group, Politifact.

Cohen’s speech is one of dozens given by House members as part of the health care repeal debate. Cohen’s extreme take is a relative outlier in the debate still underway on the floor.

Click below to watch:



  1. I’m sure Abe Foxman is at this very moment drafting his statement that this was a comment that hurt Jewish sensitivities, while J street and other “mainstream Jewish leaders” point out that Cohen is obviously antisemitic.

  2. I’m not a representative of a liberal Jewish group, but I denounce this just as I denounced Sarah Palin for a similar outrage.

  3. The ADL will say nothing about this because this guy is a Democrat. The ADL is a tool of the left, pure and simple. Don’t hold your breath. What a disgrace and an insult to the memory of the 6 Million Jews who died under the Nazis, yemachem shemam, and the 5 million goyim who died at Nazi hands.


    I just heard it about fourteen minutes ago on a broadcast of FOX News, that Mr. Abraham Foxman strongly condemns the statement of Representative Steven Cohen, explaining that dragging in the Holocaust into talk about the health reform law, “Trivializes the Holocaust.”

  5. (Continuation of above comment)

    At, is the actual text of the ADL’s strong criticism of Representative Steven Cohen’s remark. B’Ezras HaShem, I will print it here:

    Press Release Holocaust / Nazis

    ADL: Rep. Steve Cohen’s Nazi Analogy “Offensive” and Has No Place in Civil Discourse

    New York, NY, January 19, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today reacted to a statement made by Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) on the floor of the House of Representatives in which he compared misinformation about health care reform to Nazi propaganda advanced by Joseph Goebbels and the blood libel propagated against the Jews.

    Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

    No matter how strong one’s objections to any policy or to the tactics of political opponents, invoking the Holocaust and the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish people is offensive and has no place in a civil political discourse.

    Using the Holocaust as an analogy to express frustration or comparing false information to the anti-Semitic blood libel or to Goebbels’ genocidal propaganda is inappropriate and serves only to trivialize the dangers of anti-Semitism and the unique tragedy in human history that saw the murder of six million Jews and millions of others.

    We respect Representative Cohen’s right to engage in vigorous debate about health care policy. We hope he will reconsider his offensive statement and we urge all members of Congress to reject such odious comparisons.


    Today, Representative Cohen issued a statement clarifying — and thus, in a way, apologizing — for his remarks yesterday. B’Ezras HaShem, here is the text of it from his web site at

    Cohen Statement on Health Care Debate

    Thursday, 20 January 2011

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) today released the following statement on the health care debate:
    “There has been considerable media attention regarding comments I made during Special Orders on the House floor as part of a colloquy Tuesday evening.  While I received no comments or responses from my colleagues on the floor at the time or, for that matter from anyone until midday on Wednesday, someone posted a small portion of the speech on the internet.  Taken out of context, I can understand the confusion and concern.  In speaking about the Republican message of “government takeover of health care” that has been drummed into the heads of Americans and the media for more than a year, I referenced the non-partisan, Pulitzer prize-winning judgment that named the Republican message as the “2010 Lie of the Year.”

    While I regret that anything I said has created an opportunity to distract from the debate about health care for 32 million Americans, I want to be clear that I never called Republicans Nazis.  Instead, the reference I made was to the greatest propaganda master of all time.  Propaganda, which is called “messaging” today, can be true or false.  In this case, the message is false. 

    I would certainly never do anything to diminish the horror of the Nazi Holocaust as I revere and respect the history of my people.  I sponsored legislation which created one of the first state Holocaust Commissions in America and actively served as a Commission member for over 20 years.  I regret that anyone in the Jewish Community, my Republican colleagues or anyone else was offended by the portrayal of my comments.  My comments were not directed toward any group or people but at the false message and, specifically, the method by which is has been delivered.

    It is disappointing that my comments have been used to distract from the health care reform debate.  It is my hope that we can return our focus to the matter at hand—health care for 32 million Americans.”


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